(Please respond to the brief polls at the end of this post.)
In light of tomorrow’s Independence Day celebrations and after listening to several national anthems during the 2014 World Cup my resolve to see our national anthem replaced has been galvanized. The “Star Spangled Banner” is one of the worst national anthems in the world. It is a narrative of an obscure battle fought in a relatively obscure war that praises a flag rather than a nation. Moreover, it is difficult to sing. We need a new song!
We need an anthem that celebrates the diverse beauty and splendor of our country and affirms our present and future hope.
Permit me to make some comparisons with other anthems. The Russian national anthem is musically moving and portrays the beauty and immensity of that vast nation while petitioning for divine blessing and favor.
Even the musically martial “Song of Germany” promotes hope and encouragement for the German people citing positive German attributes – “German women, German loyalty, German wine and German song”. It also sounds a call for unity, justice and freedom.
“Oh Canada” is arguably the best national anthem on the planet boldly praising everything that is good and unique about the Great White North while proclaiming national devotion and it achieves this with musical appeal.
“The Star Spangled Banner” derives its wartime lyrics from a poem written in 1814 by an amateur poet after witnessing a battle against the British. Ironically, it was an English composer who wrote the music and somehow the song became our national anthem in 1931.
Please people; do we really want our global identity to be distinguished for winning a relatively insignificant battle? Are the words “bombs bursting in air” what we want sung in front of the rest of the world when our Olympic gold medalists stand proudly on a pedestal? Is the line “rockets red glare” really an appropriate precursor to the celebrated cry to “Play Ball”?
In America, we enjoy a selection of songs from which a more appropriate anthem can be chosen including “America The Beautiful” and “God Bless America”. “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” would serve as an acceptable replacement except for sharing a musical score with “God Save The Queen”, the National Anthem of England.
In any case, our current anthem is severely wanting and a change is long overdue. Let us introduce a new anthem for our beloved United States of America.
In future posts I will address the case in favor of “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America”. This campaign will be a long process but “The Star Spangled Banner” is a lousy national anthem and, since our national repertoire includes significantly more suitable songs, let us employ one of them.
Whether or not you agree, please share this with others on your list… whatever that list might be.